25+ Play Spaces with Drop-In Hours for Central New Jersey Kids
Central Jersey is home to lots of indoor play spaces that feature bouncy rooms, arcades, rock walls, imaginative play, and much more for tots to teens. Read on for more than 25 of our favorite drop-in play spaces in Central NJ.
Note that many facilities are socks-only, have height requirements, or require waivers. Check with each facility about their rules and schedules for open play.
Mercer County Indoor Play Spaces
Bonkerz Family Fun Center – Princeton
Bonkerz is a triple threat: a laser tag, arcade, and laser tag facility rolled into one. The modern family fun center is a great place for older kids, tweens, and teens; there are fewer options for the younger set. Note that from September through June, the facility is open Thursdays through Sundays only.
Kids can romp through the pretend city at Princeton Playspace.
Princeton Playspace – Princeton
This indoor play space has tons of activities for little ones, including a train table, the "Mini Princeton" pretend town, a toddler area, construction building site, and jungle gym. Caregivers can enjoy free WiFi, magazines, and a microwave to reheat your own refreshments at the cafe that's directly adjacent to the play area. Select Friday nights are drop-off nights for an extra fee. Looks for events like the Monday bilingual Spanish playgroup, Tuesday bilingual Mandarin playgroup, pop-up art, family nights, and craft and snack times. Speech, occupational, and physical therapy appointments are available upon request for an additional fee.
RELATED: Top Free Play Spaces for Jersey Kids
Tumbles' Tumble Zone is a three-story play structure with tall slides and lots of opportunities for climbing.
Tumbles – Princeton
Tumbles has a full schedule of classes for kids, but Tumble Zone times are for kids to play in the three-story indoor play structure. Parents can relax and enjoy free WiFi while the kids play.
Hunterdon County Indoor Play Spaces
Bounce City — Ringoes
This facility strings together a bunch of small bounce houses, obstacle courses, gaga pit, trampoline basketball, games, and more. There's toddler zone for kids under 5 as well as an arcade.
Somerset County Indoor Play Spaces
The Branchburg Sports Complex boasts a four-level interactive laser tag arena.
Branchburg Sports Complex – Branchburg
Branchburg Sports Complex is bursting with tons of activities for toddlers, kids, and adults. There's a great arcade where kids can collect tickets and win prizes, and a PlayMaze for children ages 3-12 with 82 different play elements including slides, tunnels, and bridges. BSC also has a four-level interactive laser tag arena, which is available for drop-in play and private parties. Tod Squad sessions (held Tues-Fri) let young children ages one through four enjoy the bounce house, soft play equipment, and PlayMaze in a safe environment.
YESTERcades – Somerville, Red Bank (and Westfield)
Older kids, tweens, and teens will love an afternoon at this classic arcade. With oldies like Space Invaders and Pac-Man, adults won't mind chaperoning these play dates at all!
Middlesex County Indoor Play Spaces
Disney Jr. Play Zone – Edison
Located in the upper level of Menlo Park Mall just outside Nordstrom, the Disney Jr. Play Zone is filled with scenes from all your child's faves like Muppet Babies, Mickey and Minnie, Puppy Dog Pals, Fancy Nancy, and more. Slide down racing car slides, play with sliding wall toys, and check out the touch screen computer games.
Grand Slam – South Plainfield
This baseball sports complex has batting cages and pitching tunnels, but there's also an arcade, laser tag area, ball pit with climbers, and virtual reality pods with more than 100 movies to choose from. Camps and private lessons are available.
Kidz Village – Woodbridge
This play town offers a lot of themed rooms to explore, including a grocery store, hair salon, cinema, and construction zone. There's also a play maze and a few arcade games. Note that this play center can get very crowded when there are birthday parties, so you may want to consider visiting during off-peak times.
Dave & Busters – Woodbridge
With tons of arcade games and great foods, this venue is perfect for all ages to let loose and have some great family fun.
MiMa Create & Play – Sayreville
MiMa is a unique space for toddlers and preschoolers that combines indoor play with art. The facility is open every day but Monday for indoor play, and features ladders, swings, hanging nets and rings, giant blue building blocks, a painting wall, and more. Aside from open play, families can register for music, art, and yoga classes.
Monster Mini Golf — Edison
Step inside the black-lit space and watch your kids' eyes widen at the sight of fluorescent ghouls and skeletons haunting the 18-hole mini-golf course. Designed as a cartoonish graveyard, the simple course features headstones and coffins as obstacles and an enormous, creepy clown face as the final hole. Golf balls glow in the dark so they are easy to spot on the dark turf, and day-glo painted curbs border each hole. The arcade features neon-lit air hockey tables, skeeball lanes, and basketball hoop games, in addition to arcade classics like Pac-Man, race cars, and claw games.
Kids can bounce, jump, flip, and more at Rebounderz Edison.
Rebounderz Edison – Edison
Open jump space, airborne dodgeball, slam-dunk basketball, and bouncing laser tag are some of the attractions at this indoor trampoline spot that's ideal for school-age kids. An arcade and indoor playground provide post-jump entertainment and cool-down, and a cafe serves basic fare.
The Jumping Jungle – East Brunswick
With eight fun inflatables, slides, and laser tag, kids won't get bored at this indoor play facility. Little ones will also love the toddler area, and everyone can hang out at the arcade, which has a hurricane simulator. Parents can relax and grab a snack in the adjacent viewing center.
Tiny Town USA, Woodbridge Center Mall Center – Woodbridge
There's a small free play area for toddlers and young children under 42" on the lower level of Woodbridge Center Mall, plus a carousel and trackless train.
Monmouth County Indoor Play Spaces
All About Fun – Matawan
Each "imagination room" at this indoor playground offers a new and exciting adventure. In the Rock 'n Roll Room, kids can rock out on drums, guitars, and piano mats. The Dazzling Diva Room is filled with dresses, hats, and jewelry. Other play areas include a carnival, general store, vet's office, and Superhero Alley. Kids will also love the Let's Pretend area, which is home to a unique LEGO wall, work bench, and more. Complimentary coffee, tea, and WiFi are available for caregivers.
Climbzone – Howell
Ever want to climb Mount Rushmore or the Statue of Liberty? This unique climbing and family entertainment center that opened in summer 2019 has a huge climbing area—we're talking 68 beautifully hand-painted walls with an auto-belay system. Families can also enjoy the arcade, soft play zone, and virtual reality games. Coming soon are a ropes course and a zip line that lets visitors fly across the facility!
This warm inviting play space has open pay hours where little ones can run free.
Coco Beans Play Cafe – Tinton Falls
Kids can slide down the pirate ship, race through a massive multilevel climber, or curl up in the reading nook at this socks-only play space. There’s also a play kitchen and garden, train table, and soft tumbling mats, plus plenty of blocks and books strewn across the soft green carpet. A dedicated toddler area keeps crawlers and tots safe. Feel free to bring your own lunch, or purchase healthy snacks at the cafe.
Discovery Center at Snapology of Monmouth County – Tinton Falls
Explore, learn, and play at Discovery Center, which offers both drop-off (ages 5 and up) and drop-in options. Kids play with thinking toys like KEVA planks, Magna-Tiles, Strawbees, a derby racetrack, a virtual reality station, Imagination Playground blocks, a magnetic wall, and an air graffiti wall. There are also classes, camps, birthday parties, and parents' night out events.
House of Bounce — Wall
Bounce on over to this huge indoor play arena with more than 10,000 square feet of inflatable fun. With nine giant inflatables, both you and your kids will have a blast on the climbers, slides, obstacle courses, and sport centers. Or sit back, relax, and enjoy the free WiFi while your kids play.
iPlay America – Freehold
With rides, arcade games, mini bowling, laser tag, and a 4D theater, this indoor boardwalk is the perfect place to go when the sun won't cooperate. There are a variety of rides and attractions for children of all sizes, including the Just iKids section, where small children can run, climb, and crawl.
jerZjump – Monmouth Junction
Kids can do all the jumping they need at this 17,500-square-foot indoor play space. The facilities include a special toddler room where your 3-and-under kiddo can play without getting pummeled by the big kids. For older children, there’s a 15-foot-tall jungle gym, huge bouncies, and inflatable slides. Bonus: Adults can enjoy arcade games, a snack bar, and a lounge with free WiFi and TVs.
Junglerrrific – Millstone
The 3,000-square-foot facility features a two-level jungle gym, trampolines, a zip line, and a small toddler area with ride-ons. The location hosts scheduled gymnastics classes, so check in about open-gym hours before arriving.
Jungle Jim and Jane's is great for families.
Jungle Jim and Jane – Atlantic Highlands
This high-tech play space has lots of unique, interactive options from projected games in the ball pit to a huge play gym with slides and climbing equipment. You'll have trouble prying the kids off the giant blow-up giraffe "carousel" and the spinning tree swings. The toddler zone is excellent, proving a full experience for little ones three and under.
KidzTopia – Matawan
KidzTopia is home to what's said to be NJ's largest indoor slide: a 42-foot super slide that spits kids into a ball/foam pit. The mega slide (which starts at the top of a pretend castle) is just one of a variety of obstacles for kids to tackle. Make your way through mazes, tubes, and tunnels, play in the pretend castle, zip across the zip line, swing on a trapeze, climb the rock-climbing wall, and more. There's a small soft play area for crawlers and small children. The all-day play rates are very reasonable ($7 on weekdays and $9 on weekends), and you can add a kid's meal for $3. Interested in drop-offs? Ask about hourly weekday babysitting rates.
Lil Giggles Play Cafe is a bright, cheery space with lots to do for little ones.
Lil Giggles Play Cafe – Englishtown
This colorful and cheery space is open seven days a week for open play. There’s no shortage of pretend play options, including a play kitchen, dress-up area, and train table. Grownups will get a kick out of the giant Connect 4 grid. A cozy reading nook offers tots a quiet place to read, or they can get messy in the art studio with finger painting. Older kids tagging along will find a basketball game, foosball table, and musical instruments to tinker with. While the little ones play and explore, parents can enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack in the cafe. Check Lil Giggles' schedule for special events, workshops, Mommy & Me classes, and character-themed parties.
Magic Sky Play – Morganville
Magic Sky is a 2017 Mommy Poppins Bestie Awards Winner, for good reason. Its bright, open layout and creative activities are perfectly suited to a young child's imagination. There are eight large play structures, including a huge tree house with a twisting slide, climbing cargo net, and lookout points. A "sandbox" filled with plastic pellets lets tiny construction workers dig in. There's even a separate toddler area with its own mini-gym. Eat lunch in the lounge area and enjoy the free WiFi.
The Gravity Vault — Middletown
With more than 14,000 square feet of climbing wall, this family-friendly sports center is suitable for all ages and fitness and experience levels. Don’t want to climb with the kids? Take a comfy seat in the lounge and enjoy free WiFi while the experienced instructors take them around the vault for some top rope climbing.
The Wonderwing at the Monmouth Museum – Lincroft
Children can have a magical undersea adventure at the Monmouth Museum's Wonderwing, a permanent exhibition about the sea and the creatures that make it their home. Kids will love the many interactive displays, including a magnetic sea, where they can create an underwater world on a wall mural. Every day is a beach day at the indoor "beach," where foam blocks of sand can be used to create sand castles. Imaginations will run wild as kids climb and explore a pirate ship and lighthouse, climb a tree, slide through a whale, and perform at a tiki theater.
Photos courtesy of the venues
Originally published in 2016 and updated since.